Navigating Reconceptualist and Feminist Ethics of Care Scholarship to Find a Conceptual Space for Rethinking Children’s Needs in Early Childhood Education

  • Rachel Langford
Keywords: early childhood education, children's needs, reconceptualist theory, feminist ethics of care


The aim of this article is to navigate through differing perspectives on the concept of children’s needs in early childhood education. Reconceptualist scholars critique the developmental narrative of the needy and dependent child. In contrast, feminist ethics of care scholars regard having needs and dependencies as ontologically what it means to be human. The article proposes a potential in-between space that recognizes that children have needs and dependencies, as do all entities. At the same time, this recognition is complicated through entangled ideas about subjectivity, needs interpretation, relationality, ethics, and politics.

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